Genesis AWD a stylish luxury sedan bargain
I’m lucky, and I know it. I get to drive cars of all shapes and sizes and witness firsthand when a car company like Hyundai grows from an afterthought to a hard-charging mainstream competitor.
I present for your inspection today, its luxurious Genesis sedan. This is a 2015 model and comes with revamped looks a longer wheelbase than its predecessor and better overall feel. People ask me why they should buy a $52,450 Hyundai, which this was, and I can honestly say, because it’s a fine car and a bargain to boot.
Hyundai’s marketing strategy has seemed simple, once it got its quality house in order about 10 years ago. Hyundai creates a more stylish car in each segment than the current main competitors, gives it good power and a well-crafted interior and then adds more electronic features (some standard) than the competitors at a lower price.
Bingo on all fronts with the Genesis.
This is a full-size luxury car riding on a 118.5-inch wheelbase, up from 115 in earlier iterations, and 196.5-inches long. Styling is a little less conservative than a BMW or Lexus, with a bit of chrome bright work at the bottom of the rocker panel and around the windows. This one was a beautiful deep metallic red that glistened in our early fall sunshine.
Its interior was near perfect, with brown over tan dash and doors and perforated tan leather seats that were well formed for comfort front and rear. The dash was cleanly laid out with a matte real wood and aluminum trim across it and spreading beautifully to the doors. Gorgeous! The Genesis steering wheel is brown leather and the photo-etch look metallic trim on the console and lower center stack looks jewel-like.
That’s just look, I should mention too that the Hyundai Genesis interior is extremely quiet … extremely!
Power addicts, and brokers, who may have the dough to drop on such a luxury sedan might aim for the more upscale and powerful 5.0 model that features a stout 420-horse V8. But the tested Genesis AWD 3.8 had plenty of get-up-and-go. Its’ 3.8-liter V6 delivers 311 horsepower with a torque rating of 293. You can select the default standard setting or Eco or Sport to give it more or less oomph. Standard was fine most if the time and would move the Genesis to highway speeds easily and smoothly.
Ride is excellent, the long wheelbase and shock damping combination soaking up our roughest roads. You feel coddled in the Genesis, but never out of touch with the road. The all-wheel-drive system and smooth shifting 8-speed automatic with Shiftronic to allow manual shifts, perform flawlessly and seamlessly.
Best yet, the former Genesis’ weak point, its overly heavy steering that felt vague and a bit odd has been improved. This is what I mean by watching a car company constantly improve to be more competitive. This new Genesis’ steering is a bit on the heavy side, but nowhere as heavy as before. Handling is good, the car following steering inputs fairly quickly and there being no meaningful body lean in curves.
Braking from four-wheel discs with traction and stability control is fine too.
In addition to the Hyundai’s good interior design, it’s loaded with electronics, although many come in three heavy-duty luxury packages that add $10,500 to the car’s bargain $40,100 starting price. Delivery is $950.
The quiet interior includes a power tilt/telescope steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert system, power rear sun shade, manual rear side window shades and cooled front seats as part of the $4,000 Signature package.
I like the power seats for both driver and passenger as they can be adjusted up and down along with fore and aft. The driver’s seat also has power lumbar and side bolster adjustments, plus the front edge can be extended for long-legged drivers. That’s part of the $3,500 tech package that also upgrades the leather seats and includes a lane departure system with Haptic steering wheel.
This tricky wheel delivers a little vibration to your hands if you wander into an adjacent lane, and a beep to alert you. But it can be turned off if you don’t care for it. Additionally it corrects your steering back toward the center of the lane, a likely first step to autonomous cars that steer for you on the highway.
Hyundai’s ultimate package, a $3,600 addition, upgrades the Lexicon stereo to 17 speakers a surround sound system and adds a giant 9.2-inch navigation/radio screen along with heads-up display, the cool wood and aluminum interior trim, a CO2 sensor and power trunk lid. You can release it from inside the car, or just stand by the trunk with the fob in your pocket for 3-4 seconds and it will assume you want in the trunk and pop it open for you.
Things such as OnStar, Bluetooth, and SOS system, satellite radio, an automatic window defogging system with humidity sensor and heated side mirrors are standard.
The comfy seats also are heated (two levels of heat and cool), plus the steering wheel is heated, a definite plus during most Wisconsin winters. In back is a large 15.3-cubic-foot trunk too.
Oh, I almost forgot. The side mirrors not only have puddle lights so you can see the ground outside the car as you enter and exit, but they create a large lighted area and display the Genesis logo and name on the pavement by the car. Very impressive and an obvious branding tool!
Downsides? Not much, except the giant touchscreen was unpredictable. I easily programmed in two favorite stations but on the third it got confused and wouldn’t accept it. I started over and again it did nothing. Third time I tried putting the station on a channel I’d already selected and that worked. Another try got three stations all on the proper buttons. Later, pressing the touchscreen the same thing happened, two worked fine, but it didn’t want to let me select the third channel. Odd!
Gas mileage also is so-so, but you’d expect that with a large luxury car with 300+ horsepower. I got just 18.2 mpg in about 60% highway driving. The trip computer put me at 21.6 mpg and the EPA says to expect 16 mpg city and 25 highway.
For the record, the base rear-drive Genesis starts at $38,950, this AWD model at $40,100 and the V8 powered 5.0 model with rear-drive at $51,500.
If gas cost is the least of your worries, but you want to go economical on a large luxury sedan, the Genesis is a worthy buy. You can easily pay more for luxury if nameplates are more important to you than the amenities!
FAST Stats: 2015 Hyundai Genesis AWD 3.8
Hits: Extremely quiet roomy interior, comfortable seats, good dash layout and beautiful trim. Smooth power and shifts, excellent ride and luxury look exterior. Well equipped with panoramic sunroof, blind-spot warning, heated/cooled seats and heated steering wheel, plus power rear sun shade and manual side window shades.
Misses: So-so gas mileage and radio touchscreen unpredictable, sometimes hard to save or change channels.
Made in: Asan, South Korea
Engine: 3.8-liter V6, 311 hp
Transmission: 8-speed Shiftronic automatic
Wheelbase: 118.5 in.
Length: 196.5 in.
Cargo: 15.3 cu.ft.
MPG: 16/25 (EPA)
MPG: 18.2 (tested)
Base Price: $40,100
Dealer’s Price: $38,928
Signature package (panoramic sunroof, integrated memory system, power tilt/telescope steering wheel, auto. dimming outside mirrors, blind-spot detection/rear cross-traffic alert, Lexicon 14-speaker Logic 7 surround sound, HID lights, parking guidelines, power rear sun shade, manual side shades, ventilated front seats), $4,000
Tech package (ultra premium leather seats, power driver’s seat extender & side bolster, lane departure/keep assist, Haptic steering wheel, auto. emergency braking, electric park brake w/auto. vehicle hold, pre-safety seatbelts, high-beam assist, front & rear park assist, 7-in. TFT LCD cluster display), $3,500
Ultimate package (matte finish aluminum/wood trim, heads-up display, premium DIS nav. HD display, w/9/2-in. screen, Lexicon 17-speaker Discrete Logic 7 surround system, power trunk lid, dual mode vent control HVAC & CO2 sensor), $3,600
Test vehicle: $52,450
Sources: Hyundai, http://www.kbb.com
Photos: Mark Savage